Marc Chagall

In André Breton’s 1924 Manifesto of Surrealism, the author famously describes an experience where, upon falling asleep, he became curious about the phrase »there is a man cut in two by a window«. This quote has been interpreted as Breton envisioning a barrier separating the conscious and the unconscious through a sheet of transparent glass.

While Chagall had previously experimented with the window as a reflection device before Breton’s Manifesto, in the present work, he goes further. In Rencontre à la grande fenêtre, there is an uncanny paradox between how the window divides the monotony of the everyday, but also facilitates its convergence with the fantastical.

A woman levitates, mirroring the pose of other flying figures above. Her arms extend dramatically across the vertical axis established by the two bouquets – one held by an angel and the other by a woman below. Meanwhile, a couple outside the window wanders along the banks of the Seine, blissfully unaware of the fantastical chaos within. What blurs the boundary between these two worlds are the two cockerels, one perched on the bridge and the other rotating amidst the clouds. The positioning of these cockerels is impossible to discern, further reinforcing if the window reflects or restricts imagination

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